Social Media Marketing

5 Tips to Leverage User-Generated Content to Boost E-commerce Sales for SMBs

No matter how much you use social media, you've likely seen or heard about the mismatch between expectation and reality in online shopping.


No matter how much you use social media, you’ve likely seen or heard about the mismatch between expectation and reality in online shopping. These incidents where people compare their expectations with reality can be quite eye-opening.

On the flip side, these memes can teach eCommerce sellers an important lesson: the value of transparency. And what better way to be transparent than by utilizing authentic, user-generated content to reflect the true experiences of your eCommerce customers?

You’re probably familiar with what user-generated content is and how it works. Now, let’s explore some tips on how to leverage it to boost your eCommerce sales.

1. Encourage video unboxing and reviews

Video unboxing is a digital trend where customers record their first encounter with a product, capturing real-time reactions and initial impressions. These reviews are invaluable as they provide an authentic glimpse into the product experience, greatly influencing purchasing decisions.

Studies suggest that over 90,000 people type ‘unboxing’ into YouTube every month. There are almost 40 videos with over 10 million views.

Customers posting product unboxing videos in product’s review section (Screenshot taken by the author)

These product unboxing videos boost eCommerce algorithms by increasing engagement metrics, which platforms favor, thus enhancing product visibility. Psychologically, they offer a transparent window into the product’s quality and features, fostering trust among potential buyers.

Customers can showcase these videos on social platforms like YouTube and Instagram, or directly on the eCommerce product pages. The right approach is to encourage genuine, detailed feedback within these reviews, emphasizing transparency and customer experience.

Tip to ace this step 👉 Use a UGC platform to seamlessly integrate video review capabilities on your eCommerce site, ensuring customers can effortlessly upload their product unboxing videos.

To incentivize high-quality submissions, establish clear criteria such as video clarity, length, and content richness. Offer rewards like discount codes, loyalty points, or entry into exclusive contests for submissions that meet these benchmarks.

This approach not only fosters engagement but also ensures a standard of content that other customers find useful and trustworthy.

2. Feature social UGC on product pages

Incorporate user-generated content (UGC) on product pages to transform them from simple displays into engaging stories. When potential customers see authentic photos and videos from others who’ve purchased the product, it adds a layer of relatability and trust.

This gallery of real-world product use can significantly sway purchasing decisions to your benefit. E-commerce sites with UGC on product pages see an uptick in conversion rates. This visual proof acts as powerful social proof, reassuring customers about the product’s quality and how it fits into their lives.

Take inspiration from Worktop Express, an online worktop supplier. They have a dedicated section on their home page featuring creations from their customers. A beautiful way to leverage UGC.

Worktop Express leveraging UGC for eCommerce (Source)

Tip to ace this step 👉 Displaying UGC requires a strategic approach. Use a modern UGC platform to curate and showcase customer photos and videos. This not only enhances the visual appeal of your product pages but also keeps content fresh and relatable.

For maximum impact, select UGC that showcases the product in a variety of settings, used by diverse individuals. This breadth of content demonstrates wide appeal and helps customers envision themselves using your product.

3. Utilize UGC in your eCommerce performance ads campaigns

Using user-generated content in your eCommerce advertising strategy can transform the way your products are perceived. By using actual customer photos, videos, and reviews in your ads, you’re providing prospective buyers with relatable and trustworthy proof of your product’s value. Along with that, The Power of User Generated Content is transforming SMB Marketing Efforts.

This approach not only increases ad engagement but also boosts consumer confidence, leading to higher conversion rates and ROI. UGC in ads acts as a peer endorsement, which can be far more influential than traditional branded ads.

TikTok videos like this are usually utilized by bubble AirBNB in their performance ads.

TikTok video promoting Bubble AirBNB (Source)

Tip to ace this step 👉 Enhance the impact of your UGC by featuring it across various ad formats and channels.

Ensure that your chosen ad platform can automate the inclusion of UGC, optimizing for the best-performing content to maximize your return on ad spend.

A/B test different types of user content to identify what resonates most with your audience.

4. Showcase Before & After UGC content in your product images

When you highlight before and after user-generated content on your eCommerce pages can dramatically showcase your product’s effectiveness. This side-by-side comparison not only illustrates the value of your product but also provides tangible evidence of its results.

Take this example from Hers utilizing before-after UGC (Source)

By doing so, you engage customers with visual stories that underline transformation, reinforcing the potential impact of their purchase.

Tip to ace this step 👉 Curate before and after content that reflects diverse customer experiences. Utilize the moderation feature in your UGC platform to filter and present high-quality UGC that aligns with your brand’s image and values, ensuring a consistent narrative that authentically represents the customer journey.


5. Periodically host live events

Live events, both online and in-person, serve as an interactive platform to deepen customer engagement and spur the creation of UGC.

By hosting webinars, product launches, or Q&A sessions, you give your audience a stage to share their experiences and contribute content in real time.

These events can foster a sense of community and excitement around your brand, leading to a wealth of fresh, event-specific UGC.

Tip to ace this step 👉 Utilize live streaming features on social media platforms to broadcast your events, encouraging participants to post their own content using your event-specific hashtag. Post-event, feature standout UGC on your eCommerce site to continue the momentum and showcase the vibrant community behind your brand.

Always follow protocols when using UGC for your eCommerce brand

Blindly using UGC can backfire on your brand, leading to issues like brand image damage due to inappropriate content, legal challenges from uncredited work, erosion of customer trust through inauthentic or manipulated UGC, and negative SEO impact from duplicated content.

To mitigate these risks:

  1. Ensure UGC accurately represents your product and aligns with your brand values.

  2. Always seek explicit consent from content creators before using their UGC.

  3. Curate UGC that is relevant and adds value to your customer’s experience.

  4. Respect copyright laws and credit original creators where necessary.

  5. Be transparent in your use of UGC, avoiding manipulation or misrepresentation.

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